Thursday, July 16, 2009

Female Black and White Warbler exhibiting her nuthatch-like behavior at Clear Creek Metro Park in Hocking Hills

Birding Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio
…continued from yesterday’s post on the Common Yellowthroat.

After hitting the mother load of Common Yellowthroats yesterday I had to go back to Clear Creek Metro Park again today to see if I’d luck out again. I started from the Creekside Meadows parking lot and took the trail to the right. I really hadn’t walked too far in when I saw a Black and White Warbler creeping up and down a tree. Yesterday, I caught sight of a Black and White Warbler briefly while I was watching Common Yellowthroats, but I wasn’t able to photograph her, so I was really happy to see her again today.

A female Black and White Warbler creeps down a tree. Black 
and White Warblers are known for their nuthatch-like behavior. 
(You can tell this is a female because she 
has a grey cheek, males have a black cheek.)

Female Black and White Warblers build their nests on the 
ground near the base of a tree, usually well hidden by leaves. 
Maybe that's why she's always walking down trees ;-)

I love Black and White Warblers. I find them regularly on the Little Miami Bike Trail, but I’ve never been able to photograph one, so you can imagine what I was feeling when this Black and White female decided to glean insects off the bark right in front of me!

This little female spent more time going down the tree than up! 
She was very thorough as she worked over the bark and 
really resembled a White-breasted Nuthatch while she worked!

...don't stick your head in that hole, Mrs. Black and White 
Warbler. It might get stuck, and that would not be good! 

I had other luck in the park today as well, but I didn’t see a Cerulean Warbler. They are supposed to be everywhere in this part of Ohio, but the naturalist said in the past couple of days they haven't been singing as much as they did earlier in the season. I did hear a Cerulean Warbler sing four times in the huge Sycamore trees by Clear Creek, but I didn’t see him, so I can’t include him in my count (also...I’ve never heard his call in person—just on CD, so I can't be sure, but it sounded just like the CD!) I did, however, see and hear a Worm-eating Warbler, which is another lifer for me! I had taken the Hemlock Trail to the other side of the road away from the meadows and Clear Creek. This trail wound through the bottom of a Hemlock-forested ravine and hugged a small brook. The temps were significantly cooler and the breeze felt so good sweeping through. While standing on a tiny bridge that crossed over the slow-moving brook, I noticed an area where leaves had caught on branches from a fallen tree, isolating part of the brook and making it a perfect place for a small bird to get a drink, so I decided to watch a bit. As soon as I looked through the binocs I saw movement and there he was! He didn’t stay around long, though. The entire time I was walking in the ravine, a Hooded Warbler was singing...very loudly! Yesterday I got one brief look at his beautiful eyes and face, but today I heard him over and over, and recorded him on my iPhone. I don't know how to get that file to my computer yet. I'll have to do that when I get home. 
p.s. Worm-eating Warblers, like Black and White Warblers, also nest on the ground.


Greener Bangalore said...

WOW! your pics have a COOLING EFFECT!!! Great shots! Just loving it! Thanks for sharing Kelly

Tammie Lee said...

I find it amazing how many wonderful bird outings you have. Your photos charm me completely.

Linda McGeary said...

As usual, informative and interesting. Your pictures are gorgeous, from the Lazarus Lizards to the post yesterday.
I read the whole lizard post and the added bits. That was fascinating. In the Northwest we have the big grey squirrels that have come in and taken over territory that was once our own red squirrel area. I love them both, but I can see how some might be concerned about invading species.
Like the frogs in Hawaii.
I'm always amazed at the verity and patterning of the different birds. The colors.
That's really cool that you got to meet with a blogger friend.

Kelly said...

Greener...thank you! Deep in the shade, the photos came out a little dark...that's probably what you're picking up. It was indeed, cooler!

Thank you so much, Tammie. Well, today was my last day here. tomorrow I pick Matty up from camp and head home, but I have lots to post over the next few days.

Kelly said...

Linda....thank you so much....the bird's colors, patterns, and shapes always amaze me as well. I can study them all day and never get enough!! It was wonderful meeting Heather. Being able to go birding with someone who actually likes chasing birds was so nice!! :-)

Elaine said...

What a beautiful little bird!

Kathie Brown said...

I love both of these warblers and saw them both for the first time at the New River Birding Festival this year. What cuties! Congrats on the lifer!

Anonymous said...

That is one crazy bird, but great photographs Kelly.

Kim said...

Great pictures of the B&W! Such cool warblers and ones I haven't seen around here much lately

Matt Latham said...

Hi kelly, you just have the collest warblers over there!

Laure Ferlita said...

I don't think I've ever seen a Black & White warbler before - love the markings! And now you're recording on your iPhone - awesome! Can't wait to hear that!

Adrienne Zwart said...

Wonderful shots, Kelly! I had some trouble photographing in the woods earlier this week. I'm still learning this camera, and probably should have set it to automatic. One of the birds I was trying to capture was a Cedar waxwing, the other was a warbler I've never seen before. I'm definitely going to go back to have another look.

I haven't been to Hocking Hills since college (many moons ago). It's one of my favorite places I've ever been to. Enjoy!

Dawn Fine said...

Great pics Kelly! I love the black and white warbler too..How lucky you were to have such great looks..
the cerulean continues to elude me!

Janice K said...

I always learn something new from your blog. You have birds I have never seen, or may never see; plus the fact that you are a gifted writer. I look forward to learning more.


Montanagirl said...

Very informative post (as always). I love visiting your blog everyday with great anticipation of all the wonderful new photos and birds that I've never had the pleasure of seeing except in pictures. Thank you, Kelly!

Grizz………… said...

Didn't get a chance to comment yesterday, but your shots and post then and today are just spectacular. I love the b&w warbler pix.

Here along the river this morning, as I drank my coffee, I've been watching herons and nuthatches, and listening to Carolina wrens. I have wrens and nuthatches all over the place here today!

I'd love to see a few warblers, though. Again, great posts!

Roy said...

I've never seen one of those before. I don't think I've even heard them (I have the Cornell Ornithology Lab's bird ID website bookmarked, so I went and listened), but they're supposed to live here, and some of the places I hang out in are the perfect habitat for them. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

I love Black and White Warblers. Nice pictures. These little guys move around so fast, it's difficult to capture them. You did a wonderful job!

holdingmoments said...

Unusual for us to see another bird, other than a Nuthatch, going down a tree. Lovely shots of Mrs. Black and White.
You certainly saw some good birds on that visit Kelly.

Ken. said...

Hello Kelly.
Whenever you write your blog I always look up the birds in my National Geographic Society Field Guide to the Birds of North America. It's a pity you didn't see the Cerulean Warbler, they look like a nice little bird with their bluish uppers and white below. But don't get me wrong the Worm Eating Warbler is also a atrractive bird with it's buffish orange colour with it's dark head stripes.Typically as with other birds that dont eat what you would think, going by their name, this one rarely ever eats worms. This bird is the onlybird classified in the genus Helmitheros.
Another lovely blog Sweetheart. have a nice weekend.

Kelly said...

Elaine...she is a cutie with that black and white!

Kathie...I saw all the posts on the festival and it looked like you had a fabulous time. All those birds...all those knowledgeable people. It must have been a blast!

Roy...thanks, Roy. Crazy but cute!

Kim...thanks...we have at least one on the trail, but I don't see them anywhere else.'s fun learning about all of them too!

Laure...I love seeing the black and white. Most of the warblers are so colorful, and then along comes this black and white beauty. There's something cool about that.

Adrienne...I loved it at Hocking Hills. I hadn't been there since I was a kid. We got home late this afternoon. Having the week alone to bird was phenomenal. It was so beautiful. I want to go back.

Dawn...that beautiful, and so elusive. I will get him next spring. I'm going to Hocking Hills when the leaves are missing. Then I know I'll find him!! :-)

Janice...thank you so much. You are too kind!! The birds make it easy!

Scribe...thank you! You are so lucky to have your place on the river. I love reading your posts about your experiences there. Herons...nuthatches and Carolina Wrens--now that sounds good!!! (I always like finding the warblers too...)

Roy...I hope you find one. They are so much fun to watch! Definitely not the typical warbler. I bet you'll find them right away. Once you're in the right spot, the black and white does sort of pop out. If they are there, you'll see them!

Moria...they do move around fast. I had no idea if my photos would turn out at all. I worried they would all be blurry, and most were. They are much faster than a nuthatch...and aren't big with long poses!

Keith...I know! It's so weird. Watching them creep down is fun. They don't do the 90-degree head lift though. They just point straight down and go for it!

Ken...I do the same with your birds, but I have a German guide, so I'm reading about them auf Deutsch, which is fun! The Cerulean is in danger...losing habitat. It has a strong hold in this area of Ohio. I hope to see one next spring. The Worm-eating Warbler is pretty in an understated way. Thank you!!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Kel, You got some marvelous shots of the warblers. Looks like you have had a wonderful time in Hocking Hills. Now--are you ready to go back to Pinkney????? ha ha

Have a great weekend.

Kelly said...

Betsy.....Hocking Hills was like the Pinckney of the north for Common Yellowthroats, but yes....I would leave for Pinckney in a flash!! Got home late this afternoon. I'm tired!

Midmarsh John said...

A lovely looking bird well photographed there Kelly. That area looks so green and lush.

Modesto Viegas said...

Great shots!

troutbirder said...

Thanks for stopping by and visiting me. It gave me the opportunity to see your wonderful bird photography. I'm a rookie in the birding field but trying to learn fast. btw there are 2 Troutbirder blogs - one off the wall and the other focuses on nature, mostly birding and gardening.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great photographs! I also loved the yellowthroats from the previous post. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

I guess it would help to carry something like magic binoculars to see the birds with. I got some but nothing like what you see there. Wow. I am always impressed with the assortment. But then mine are confined to a 6 foot high board fence and a small city lot with few attractions. LOL

Pick a Peck of Pixels is my photo blog with a difference -- I am hoping you are the difference. For this blog to be famous and me written about in the Wall Street Journal like I was in the seventies, will require more than a couple of dozen hits a day. If 10,000 visitors leave comments then it is instantly famous and your comments are part of history. Lets Make History.

Warren Baker said...

Great Stuff Kelly - A worm eating Warbler, all I need now is a photo, I don't ask much do I!!

Oh, and Hi to Matty - watcha mate!!

Kelly said...

John...thank you. The area was right by Clear Creek. It was lush and the deep shadows were a welcome relief from the sun!

Modesto and Troutbirder and Mountain Woman...thank you!

Abe...I dropped by the new site to help you make history!

Warren...maybe I'll have to paint that. I know Matty will like the phrase "watcha mate!" You have better greetings over there! :-)

Jenny said...

Fabulous lush shots of the B&W Warbler Kelly. I remember the first time I ever saw one, my knees nearly gave way. They're gorgeous birds.

Kelly said...

Jenny...I know exactly what you mean. They are so unassuming yet stunning and breathtaking at the same time!

Mary said...

Another winner! I have so few warblers checked off on my life list. They are such pretty birds, but I seem to have trouble finding them. I can see that we will have to go back to Hocking Hills again.

Nick S said...

Very cool. Nicely captured :-)